Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Pecan Crop Destroyed

South Mississippi was expecting a bumper crop of pecans this year. But, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed all hope of pecans for the fall. 50% of some counties' crops were destroyed, either by the small nuts and leaves being knocked from the trees, or some trees completed blown over. Rita damaged 25% of the crop through the whole state of Mississippi.

T.J. Morris, of Oak Grove, was expecting his first big crop in the 12 years since purchasing his property. But, of the 40 acres of 196 trees, 24 were uprooted and the rest damaged. He and his wife had planned to hire workers to harvest the crop.

Pecans once played an important part in South Mississippi agriculture but took major hits from Hurricanes Camille in 1969 and Frederic 10 years later.

"Probably Frederic was the one that kind of put an end to the industry in South Mississippi," Braswell said. Hurricanes Elena in 1985 and Georges in 1998 also took a toll.

Most pecan growers in the Pine Belt, including Norris, bought the property for investment. They say pecan trees are very temperamental and anything can trigger them not to make more pecans.

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